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Creating a BU Nation


By Avis Denise Files

Director of Family and Supportive Services

Program Director Brothers United Fatherhood Program


Pathway, Inc. mission is to alleviate the immediate hardships of poverty and to help those in need get the skills and tools to thrive independently.


Brothers United Fatherhood Coalition, a program funded by the Administration for Children and Families, has served fathers and their children for the past five years. During the pastfive5 years, the program has served 1,818 fathers who are in the lives of 5,057 children. This program supports and advocates for fathers because when fathers are involved in the lives of their children, the entire community thrives.  – Robert Jordan, Interim CEO


Five years ago, we embarked on a dream of helping fathers in our community. We chose to do a program with young fathers who were addicted to drugs, not in school, experiencing mental health issues, and living in the 10 worst crime areas in Toledo, Ohio. This was an awesome challenge and task and if that wasn’t enough, we then decided to do a Randomized Control Trail (RCT) with a one-year follow-up just to prove that the program worked.


Throughout the years of Brothers United, we struggled initially trying to make it work. Our recruitment strategies were unique, creative, and way out of the box. Our street recruitment and building of the BU Nation brand was what it was all about; seed planting and waiting for the harvest. Some of their initial strategies were to go to bus stops, municipalities, local and federal courts and the local malls. Later we went to strip clubs and simply hung out in alley ways in an effort to “take it to the streets” just to connect.  We coined the term BU is in dese streets! Anywhere a young father hung out you would see BU.


Our staff worked hard to get the message out in the community, but the greatest message was that from those whom we served. Staff worked late nights and sacrificed so much to extend themselves to serve Fathers in our community and it showed. We Thank the staff of Pathway Inc. Brothers United for all the days and nights of sacrifice to ensure that Fathers  were served.


It has not been easy to create partnerships in Lucas county around the area and topic of Fatherhood. It seems that fathers have been forgotten, put on the back burner, or only seen as a paycheck. By creating partnerships and developing synergy around this topic, Brothers United has been able to develop the Brothers United Fatherhood Coalition.


The Brothers United Fatherhood Coalition consists of community stakeholders who are committed to support, strengthen, connect, and impact fathers in Lucas County. The Coalition meets bi-monthly with the goal of strengthening program efforts by referrals, resources, and advocacy. The Coalition develops action steps, strategies, and follow up plans to increase family engagement.


Pathway Inc.  Department of Family and Supportive services has also diversified its programming through the years obtaining several grants:


*Brothers United Healthy Start, a grant from The Lucas County Health Department that works directly with Healthy Start to identify 100 Fathers a year to provide them with  education  and  Case Management support.


*Sister United, a grant received from Toledo Community Foundation to provide services to young mothers 20-24 topics including: Teaching your  child(ren) self esteem, Learning of the stages of children’s growth and Co-parenting. 


*Managed Care -A two-year grant funded  to work with Fathers who are struggling with co parenting  and child rearing. The Managed Care staff facilitates Breast For Success, a program designed to help men to understand breastfeeding and how they can help their coparent  and Safe Sleep.


*Skill up to Move up - Zepf Center has offered us a grant to include Brothers United as we offer the two generational approach.


The lessons learned, the pains and strains, the laughter and tears, the sunshine and rain have all been worth it to create this nation of fathers who are proud, who are better, braver, wiser and stronger to lead their children to victory and to develop a stronger community.


We are Brothers United!

We are BU Nation!

We are BU Strong!

Strong Fathers build Strong Families!





Pathway Inc. Brothers United Fatherhood Program believes that children are important. Every day we support and advocate for Fathers, because when children have involved Fathers the whole community thrives.




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/01/20 10:52:38 -0400.

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